Thursday, January 10, 2008

Bell & Evans vs. generic

After ice skating in Central Park last Sunday, Mabel and I went to Whole Foods to pick up chicken for dinner. She wanted to make a Patricia Well's 40 garlic cloves chicken recipe that happened to appear in the Times a few months ago.

I wanted to buy a Bell & Evans chicken. She thought generic would be just fine. So we got both and did a little taste test.


She marked the pieces of chicken with two different types of toothpicks and I was supposed to pick out which was which.

It was impossible to tell the difference between the breast meat, but the thigh meat was definitely different between the two chickens. Now to see which one I preferred. They were different, but I slightly preferred the Bell & Evans chicken. Still, both were very tasty. But I wasn't duped! Or maybe I just got lucky.

Is it worth the premium? I think so, and I think so even if I picked the wrong one. I like the Bell & Evans brand, and I buy into the idea that branding increases your enjoyment of food and drink, in real terms, in certain circumstances. It's scientifically proven, at least for Coke and Pepsi. Here's the actual study.

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